What Does the Future Hold for Construction?
Gazing into our construction industry crystal balls, the future certainly looks rosier than it did a decade ago in terms of industry work and new technology in the construction industry. And this increased work can be helped in a number of ways by methods that either didn't exist a decade ago, or that were just beginning to be noticed. Wise managers are advised to take note of them and use them to their advantage.
Changing Work ForceAs "traditional" construction workers retire or move on to other jobs, managers can expect to see more women, minorities, and college educated workers at work sites. This will not only be because of availability but because of changing government requirements. The city of Boston for example, is already promising more work to firms with women employed on site crews.
Mobile AppsSince mobile devices are everywhere, including construction sites, why not use compatible apps to turn them into work tools? Raken's app for daily reporting allows for professional looking reports to be produced quickly in real time, saving time and money.
RobotsIf you can't hire enough qualified construction workers, why not build and program them? Taking a page from nature, Harvard University is overseeing an experimental program (TERMES) in which termite like machines complete building tasks unsupervised.
Printed BuildingsA machine that puts out an actual, livable home in about 24 hours? It's not fantasy, it's giant 3-D printers, that have already built homes in Europe and Asia. Loaded with materials ranging from concrete to plastics, the printers pump out these houses from foundations to roofs right at the construction sites. This process is currently expensive and has some bugs, but experts expect both to improve as the technology is more widely used. Some experts are predicting that entire communities will one day be built this way.
Green ConstructionIt's already here, and in the state of California, it's the law. But green home construction practices are not only already in place, they're being refined all the time, with methods like using repurposed construction parts and recycled plastics, designing "smart buildings" that can regulate utilities, environmental landscaping that irrigates properties with wastewater and protects buildings against wear and tear, and powering buildings from the sky and the earth below, by creating giant built in solar panels from building roofs, and installing pipes to harness geothermal heating energy from inside the earth.